West Virginia Coal Forest museum gallery by Karen Carr

Shown: West Virginia State Museum gallery, showing Pennsylvanian forests that contributed to the coal deposits now found in the state.
Geologic period: Pennsylvanian


West Virginia Coal Forest museum gallery

Coal has played an important and undeniable role in the history of the United States and West Virginia.

West Virginia is blessed with enormous reserves of bituminous coal. These coal deposits occur in all but two of the mountain statesí fifty-five counties. Underlying the topography of the state are sixty-two individual seams of coal considered economically minable.

Records indicate the early settlers in the western sections of Virginia were quite aware of the rich black resources. Coal is reported to have been mined as early as 1810 when a mine was operated near Wheeling, in the northern panhandle. The growth of the salt industry led to the opening of mines to supply furnace fuel during the 1820ís and 1830ís. The other coal fields in the state began to develop in the following two decades. Most of the coal produced was for local business and domestic consumption. Only along navigable rivers was the coal exported to distant markets.

The commercial coal industry began to grow with the arrival of the railroads in the coal fields. The year 1883 is an important year in West Virginiaís coal history. The major rail lines were completed that year and production totaled nearly 3 million tons.

Other samples of work for West Virginia State Museum:

Client information:

West Virginia State Museum
1900 Kanawha Blvd East
Charleston, WV

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— As a guest speaker or lecturer

In addition to the time she spends painting, Karen finds time now and again to serve as a guest speaker, lecturer and instructor to museum groups, professional organizations, schools and universities. She has also presented master classes in art and digital painting at universities in the U.S.

Karen has delivered recent presentations for these institutions and groups:

  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Guild of Natural Science Illustrators at the College of William & Mary and at Montana State University
  • New Mexico Highlands University
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of North Texas
  • Dallas Paleontological Society


About Karen

Originally trained in the classical techniques of illustration and painting, Karen frequently speaks on the transition to a digital world, and on the challenges and benefits this transition poses for artists, clients and viewers. She conducts professional seminars on painting, illustration and digital image creation, and also offers specific programs tailored to the needs of professional groups or classroom instructors.

To contact Karen about a speaking engagement, just drop her a note or call her studio.

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